Very little is known about Henry Dagod or Dagord except that he was the father of Margaret Dagod or Dagord born in North Farnham Parish in Richmond County, Virginia on April 30, 1708. The North Farnham Parish register record does not tell us who Henry’s wife is, and there are absolutely no other records in Richmond County that can be attributed to Henry Dagord. Not one. Nada.
In fact, we’re not even sure of his surname.
In the document, “The Registers of North Farnham Parish 1663-1814 and Lunenburg Parish 1673-1800, Richmond County, Virginia” compiled by George Harrison and Sanford King and published in 1866, they record Margaret’s surname as Dagod, not Dagord. This is the first and to my knowledge only publication of the North Farnham Parish registers, so we’re just going to have to trust their interpretation.
The publication “Married Well and Often: Marriages of the Northern Neck of Virginia, 1649-1800,” available at Ancestry shows the Dodson/Dagod marriage as well.
These folks obviously thought that Dagod was a misspelling of Doggett, and there were Doggett families in the area. They may have been right – and they may have been wrong.
However, for some reason, within the Dodson family, Margaret’s surname has always been listed as Dagord, not Dagod or Doggett, either one. The great irony is that no place in these records or the Richmond County records does Dagord, spelled as such, ever appear.
Speaking of the North Farnham Church Register, the original parish register no longer exists and apparently hasn’t for about 200 years or so. We’re working with a disintegrating (but now preserved) leatherbound alphabetized transcription housed at the Virginia State Archives that includes records from 1663 to 1814. It’s these records, already alphabetized and transcribed once that were transcribed a second time by Harrison and King in 1866.
These records can very effectively be used in conjunction with the existing marriage records from the area which exist beginning in 1668. Neither set of documents appears to be complete. Pages are missing from the North Farnham Parish register. At least three sets of page numbers have been added at different times (pen, ink and crayon) and are not in sync with each other, not to mention that it’s obvious in an alphabetized list when sections or pages are missing.
In 1663, North Farnham Parish was still Farnham Parish which was split between north and south in 1684. North was north of the Rappahannock River, now Richmond County and South was south of the river, now Essex County.
Another challenge is the spelling of the Dagord surname. It may not be Dagord, and whatever it was, it could certainly have been spelled myriad ways. I found variations that included Dagod, Doggett, Doged, Doget, Dogged, Dogett, Doggett, Daggett…you get the idea. So I looked for every somewhat similar record beginning with Da and Do. The good and bad news both is that there really weren’t many records at all.
I thought sure that perhaps researchers hadn’t researched thoroughly, so I undertook that task, perusing not just Richmond County, but also the preceeding counties from which Richmond was formed. I checked Lancaster, York, Old Rappahannock and Richmond County land, probate and court records closely.
I did not check Essex County records since Essex was located across a mile-wide river, which would not have placed Margaret Dagod in close enough proximity to George Dodson to get to know each other well enough to marry, given that the Dodsons lived on or near Totuskey Creek in Richmond County. A ferry ride would have been the most expedient way to cross the Rappahannock River, and ferries were not free.
Old Rappahannock County, Virginia
Settlement in the Northern Neck of Virginia, shown above as the neck of land that today includes the counties of Westmoreland, Northumberland, Richmond and Lancaster, began about 1635 when the area was part of York County, one of the original counties formed in 1634. St. Mary’s and St. Charles Counties in Maryland are just across the Potomac River, on the north side of the neck.
In 1619, the area which is now York County was included in two of the four incorporations (or “citties”) of the proprietary Virginia Company of London which were known as Elizabeth Cittie and James Cittie.
During the English Civil War, Charles River County and the Charles River (also named for the King) were changed to York County and York River, respectively. The river, county, and town of Yorktown are believed to have been named for York, a city in Northern England.
York County land records and probate began in 1633.
In 1648, Northumberland was formed from York and then in 1652 Lancaster was formed Northumberland and York. Land records in Northumberland began in 1650 and probate in 1652.
Old Rappahannock County (not to be confused with the current Rappahannock County) was formed in 1656 from Lancaster County, VA. Land records begin in 1656 and probate in 1665. In 1692, old Rappahannock was dissolved and divided into Essex and Richmond Counties.
Old Rappahannock County was named for the Native Americans who inhabited the area, Rappahannock reportedly meaning “people of the alternating (i.e., tidal) stream.” The county’s origins lay in the first efforts by English immigrants to “seat” the land along the Rappahannock River in the 1640s. The primitive travel capabilities of the day and the county’s relatively large area contributed to the settlers’ hardship in travel to the county seat to transact business, and became the primary reason for the county’s division by an Act of the Virginia General Assembly in 1691 to form the two smaller counties of Essex and Richmond.
According to the library of Virginia, old Rappahannock wills are with the Essex County wills, although they have been transcribed and published separately.
Richmond County was formed in 1692 from Old Rappahannock, with land records beginning in 1692 and probate in 1699, although many records are lost for unknown reasons.
You would think that at least some Dagord (or similar surname) records would be found in the following locations:
If Margaret Dagod/Dagord was born in 1708, her father would have been living in the parish at that time, and again in 1726 when she married George Dodson. It’s very likely that Margaret’s parents lived nearby the Dodson family in Richmond County that entire time. Let’s see what the records tell us.
The Northern Neck counties of Virginia are blessed by a series of books, by county, written by F. Edward Wright titled “Marriage References and Family Relationships.” Each county has one of these books, and they do intertwine somewhat. The author has assembled the various records from marriages, wills, deeds and other resources to piece these families together.
In the “Family” book for Northumberland County, we find the following:
- Benjamin Doggett son of Rev. Benjamin and Jane Gerrard Doggett, married before 1712.
- John Doggett died by 1740, widow Mary.
- William Doggett/Dogged married Elizabeth, surname unknown, and had children beginning in 1770. If William didn’t move from someplace else, this family was in the vicinity since the early 1700s but had almost transactions at all in county records.
Interestingly, the Reverand Bejamin Doggett was the rector at the Saint Mary’s Whitechapel Church in present day Lancaster County from 1670-1682 when he died and is buried there, marked by the red pin below, not far from Farnham, where the North Farnham Parish Church is located.
The Dodson family lived on Totuskey Creek, between Kennard and 614 in the upper left of the map, probably on or near the main road, “3,” about 18 miles distant from Saint Mary’s.
There was nothing in early York or Lancaster County records, so apparently Reverend Doggett immigrated after that portion of Lancaster had become Old Rappahannock. I did not check later records in those counties.
There is no record of the Reverend Benjamin Doggett having a son Henry, and his sons were too young to have sons having children by 1708.
The North Farnham Parish Registers hold the following records:
- Isaac Doggett and Elizabeth Churchwell, married in 1729.
- Ann, daughter of John and Mary Doggitt born October 1725.
- John Doged son of Isaac Doged born in 1730.
- Samuel Doged son of Isaac and Elizabeth Doged born June 1733.
Absolutely nothing for Henry or any other births anyplace close to Margaret’s in 1708, nor are there records in the 1600s.
Richmond County is fortunate in that a book has been published that provides an every name index for court orders from 1721-1752. No, that’s not early, but it will help nonetheless and covers the time in 1726 when Margaret Dagord married Charles Dodson.
We find the surname spelled Doged, Doggett, Doggitt and Doghead. First names include Isaac, Ann, Richard and that’s it.
The Richmond County “Family” book provides the following:
- Isaac Doggett married in December 1729 to Elizabeth Churchwell, children John and Samuel.
- John Doggitt married Mary, surname unknown, daughter Ann born in 1725.
- Richard Doggitt/Doged married before October 1727 to Ann, only daughter of Thomas Ascough.
As I checked the extant records for all of the early counties plus Richmond County records, including court order books, there were very few records for any spelling of this surname, and absolutely none for Henry, with one exception.
Henry Dagord, by that spelling, is mentioned in one 1649 record.
I found this tantalizing record at Ancestry, which told me that there was a record, but exactly nothing about the content.
As it turns out, Google is my friend. I found the Virginia Magazine of History and Biography online.
The following will of Walter Walton is the sole mention of Henry Dagord.
Walter Walton. Will 30 November 1649; proved 17 August 1650. Mr. Alexander Ewes and Mr. Richard Lawson to be my executors in the behalf of my mother, Johane Walton, living in Spoford in the parish of Spoford, Yorkshire, England. They to pay all my debts demanded in this my voyage in the adventure now in Verginney bound for Maryland, and I give power to John Underhill and Benjamin Cowell of the said ship to receive what is due me. One servant that I brought over sold for twelve C tobacco. Henry Dagord for one sute and cloke three C tobacco. John Smith, a passenger, 30 lbs tobacco. Simon Asbe 27 ft tobacco. Nathaniel Foord 9 lb tobacco. Mr. Walker 374 lb tobacco. Henry Dagord 9 lb tobacco. Witnesses: Thomas May, Peter Walker, John Addams, Miles Cooke, Richard ?. Proved by Richard Lawson, with power reserved.
Unfortunately, this record doesn’t tell us WHERE Walter Walton’s will was proved, but I found the will in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, in England.
Was Henry Dagord sailing on the same ship, the Adventure, as Walter Walton? Was Henry an indentured servant to Walter Walton?
Is the Henry Dagord in this record the same Henry Dagord who had daughter Margaret in 1708?
If Henry Dagord was age 15 in 1649, he would have been 84 in 1708 when Margaret was born. That’s not very likely.
A child or teen would not have ordered a suit and cloak, so it’s likely that the Henry Dagord in this record was an adult, making him older than 84 in 1708.
This Henry Dagord might have been the grandfather of Margaret Dagord, but it’s very unlikely that he was her father. Furthermore, based on this record, we really don’t know if the Henry Dagord referenced was even in the colonies. Walter may have been referencing a debt incurred by a man in England. We just don’t know.
One online tree shows a Henry Dagord born in 1749 in Cane, Scotland, but no source and I can find no records to suggest this. Furthermore, even if a Henry Dagord was born in Cane, Scotland, connecting the dots and proving that he was the same Henry that immigrated would be required as step one. A newborn would hot have been ordering a suit and cloak, so a Henry born in Scotland in 1749 cannot be the same man mentioned in Walter Walton’s will. Step two would be finding a way to prove Henry DaGord’s connection to Margaret some 59 years later. Unfortunately, there just aren’t any records that connect those dots. That’s why so many brick walls remain in these early colonial genealogies.
One of the big mysteries is how a man in Virginia in this timeframe can remain almost entirely non-existent in records. I must admit, given the court order books, deeds, wills and the parish register, Richmond County and its preceding counties are quite record-rich – at least by comparison to other counties. It’s hard to believe that Henry Dagord or Henry by whatever Dag… or Dog… surname, was entirely transparent. The only circumstance I can think that would lend itself to this situation would be if he was an indentured servant. The problem with that, of course, is that indentured servants weren’t married, didn’t have children, and sold themselves into bondage for a few years to earn their passage – delaying the rest of their life until their stint in servitude was complete.
Henry clearly was married, did have children and lived in Farnham Parish from at least 1708 to 1726, assuming Henry was alive that entire time. Daughter Margaret had to live close enough to the Dodson family to court.
Henry clearly didn’t own land, never got subpoenaed to court for anything, went to church every Sunday (or he would have been subpoenaed to court) and never witnessed any document for anyone. In fact, were it not for the North Farnham Parish Church Register and Margaret’s birth and marriage, we wouldn’t even know Henry existed.
Most Virginia families that intermarried had various types of social interactions with one another. They were neighbors, often, and witnessed deeds for each other, for example. There is not one record of any Dagod or similar surname associated with any Dodson or closely affiliated family.
The Dodson and Dagod families may have been from different social strata. It may be very relevant that Margaret married on her 18th birthday and her first child was born 8 months and one day after her marriage to Charles Dodson. While the Dodson family, who did own land and appeared to be more successful than Henry Dagod would have been very unhappy about their son marrying into a poorer class, they probably would not have forbid it because of the pregnancy. Legally, if Charles was of age, the family couldn’t prevent the marriage. So perhaps this pregnancy was planned as a method for two young lovers to be allowed to marry. Stranger things have happened! If that was the case, it certainly worked quite effectively.
The other possibility, of course, is that Henry was not entirely white – which would also explain his apparent poverty as well as his absence from court records. However, if Henry was not white, meaning not all white, it would be extremely unlikely that his daughter would be marrying a Dodson male – although the pregnancy might have been a contributing or deciding factor there too. Virginia criminalized marriage between whites and Indians in 1691, but omitted the word “Indian” in similar 1705 legislation, leaving the law to apply only to whites and blacks/mulattoes.
How I wish we could peek back into time and be a fly on the wall. Who was Henry Dagod? Or Dagord? Or Doggett?
The Best We Can Do
The very best we can do for Henry is to use his daughter’s birth year as an anchor point and figure his age ranges from that.
I’m going to use the assume word a lot, which I dislike doing, but it’s the only choice we have.
First, I’m going to assume Henry’s wife was about his age or maybe as much as 5 years younger than he was. This would have been typical for the time.
If Henry was newly married when Margaret was born, he would probably have been age 25, which is about the age young men married at that time.
But let’s say he was only 20, to get the fullest range. If that was the case, he would have been born absolutely no later than 1688.
If Henry’s wife was at the end of her childbearing years, age 43 or so, and Henry was the same age, he would have been born about 1665. If he was 5 years older than his wife, he would have been born about 1660.
The range we have for Henry’s birth is 1660-1688 and more likely 1660-1683.
Indentured servants were not allowed to marry. If Henry was an indentured servant in 1708 and had gotten a female pregnant, the child would not have carried his surname. This tells us that by the time Margaret was born, Henry was married to her mother.
This also suggests that Henry could have been an older parent, because if he served an indenture before marrying, he could well have not married until later than normal for unfettered males. Indentured servants after release were often poor, never owning land. There is no evidence that Henry ever owned land, which is somewhat unusual in and of itself in Virginia, the land of opportunity and available land.
We have absolutely no idea when Henry died. All we know positively is that he died sometime after Margaret was conceived, and probably after her birth, but I don’t know if the register would have said if the father was dead by the time the child was born. Many marriages don’t list any parents, but I didn’t see any that mentioned deceased parents.
Unfortunately, because of the difficulty identifying either Henry Dagod/Dagord himself, or even the surname exactly, DNA identification is quite difficult.
At Family Tree DNA, a feature exists to see if:
- Anyone by the surname you are searching has tested and…
- If a surname project exists.
Simply click here, then click on the projects tab in the upper left hand corner.
You will then see the above screen, where you can browse alphabetically for surname projects. I generally prefer entering the surname into the search box, at upper right. However, in this case, because I want to look for projects by several spellings, I’ll just look under the Ds for surname projects.
Unfortunately, there is no Dagord or Doggett project or anything similar. However, with so little information about Henry, it would be nearly impossible to confirm that any Dag… or Dog… surname originating from Richmond County, VA is this line.
Next step, I’ll look further to see if anyone by the surnames of Doggett or Daggett has individually tested.
I entered the surname Doggett in the Project Search box in the upper right, because I want to see if any individuals by that surname have tested. This is different than looking for surname projects. Good news, there are 14 people who have tested who currently carry the Doggett surname, although some maybe females.
There are also 15 Daggetts who have tested.
This looks to be a really good opportunity to start a surname project that includes both surnames, plus Dagord, of course. Anyone interested?
I’d love to see if I share autosomal DNA with anyone descended from any of these lines. If I do, it could indeed confirm that Margaret was really a Doggett or Daggett.
If a Doggett or Daggett surname project existed, I could join that project and search for any matches within that project. If I matched with someone in the Doggett/Daggett project, that would be significant, assuming we don’t share any other genealogy. You just never know what might break down that brick wall. Since there is no project to join, and not everyone joins projects anyway, there are other methodologies to utilize.
Autosomal DNA might, just might, provide the link I need, although the connection is several generations back in time. However, if you don’t look, you’ll never find, so here goes!
In order to discover whether or not I share any DNA with anyone who has Doggett or Daggett lines, I searched for those surnames (and variant spellings) in my match list in Family Finder. The red arrow is the search bar where I entered Doggett.
Surprisingly, I did find two Doggetts, and glory be, one shows Ann Doggett who is indeed from Lancaster County, Virginia, born in 1700. My match’s tree shows that she married George Reeves.
I checked the tree of my match, Jason, and we don’t seem to have any other ancestors in common, at least none that are evident – so maybe our common ancestral surname is Doggett. But there are more things to check before we can reach that conclusion.
Master DNA Spreadsheet
Next, I checked my Master DNA Match Spreadsheet to see which segments over 5cM where Jason and I match and I also match to other people. There is one larger matching segment at just under 8cM on chromosome 16.
It’s possible that I’ve already triangulated some of the other people who match on that same segment in terms of our common ancestor.
Sure enough, there were 32 other people with whom I match on all or part of that same segment where I match Jason. You can see the example below from my Master DNA Spreadsheet where I match 5 individuals on the exact same segment, including Jason.
Some matches turned out to be from my mother’s side, so I eliminated those. My mother tested, so that was easy to do.
Unfortunately, I have not triangulated this group, meaning worked on discovering and assigning a common ancestor, so now is a good time to work on this exercise.
The first thing I did was to see if any of the people who share any portion this segment with me are on my list of Dodson matches by typing Dodson in to the Family Finder search. They were not.
Next, I checked every single individual that matches me in Family Finder (on the same segment where I match Jason) to view their matching surname list and view their tree, shown above. Surnames, at right, are taken only from surnames entered specifically by the tester, NOT from the direct ancestral line in their tree, so you need to check both their Ancestral Surnames and their tree. It’s a bit tedious, but can pay off big time.
Sure enough, look here. This person does not show up in a Dodson search, because the Dodson surname is not listed in the ancestral surnames list, but viewing their tree reveals….you guessed it, a Dodson.
Now, this doesn’t mean our match is necessarily attributed to Dodson DNA, which could include Doggett DNA of course. But it’s a great first step to build that case.
Of the 26 individuals, I found the following:
- 10 had no trees and no ancestral surnames listed. Very frustrating.
- 12 had trees and/or surnames, but I didn’t see any evident family lines.
- One listed Derham, as opposed to Durham – but their Derham was directly from Ireland and did not immigrate into Virginia. This appears not to be related although the connection can’t be ruled out entirely.
- Jason was the Doggett match
- One had Jemima Dodson in their tree.
- One had a Dobson, consistently spelled in that manner, that immigrated from London. This does not appear to be relevant.
Unfortunately, I could not find any other Dodson or Doggett/Daggett family lines in this match group.
Master Cousin Match List
As a secondary tactic, I turned to the big guns – my master cousin list. I haven’t written about this tool before.
I download the matches of each cousin whose test I’ve paid for (and who have granted permission) and combine them into one humongous spreadsheet file. This allows me to sort by matches to all of the cousins at one time. Therefore, I can see who, of my cousins, also matches Jason, as illustrated in the example below.
While this is just an example, you’ll note that all of these people match Jason on chromosome 2. Some people match Jason on the same segments. While this example shows only small segments, the premise is the same. The next step would be to see if the cousins who match Jason on the same segments also match each other on those segments too. That’s triangulation. However, if I’m not included in the triangulated match group, then it’s not triangulation for me on those segments. It would, however, shows that these families do descend from a common ancestor – especially with larger segments of 5cM or over.
Looking at who one individual (like Jason) matches consistently can be a powerful hint as to which family line they are associated with.
I looked through my master cousin list for all of the 26 people who I match on the same segment with Jason, which means I sorted by matchname and then looked to see which cousins, if any, the individual matches.
I found the following interesting information on the Master Cousin Match List spreadsheet for the 26 matches to Jason:
- 11 people match me only and none of my cousins on the master cousin list
- Two match different Crumley family members, which do not include a Dodson. line. However, I did spot Mercers in Richmond County, a name that married into the Crumley line although there is no evidence that it’s the same line. It’s also possible that we have a “buried” Dodson marriage in the Crumley line, as we don’t know the surnames of all the wives.
- 4 match my Vannoy cousins which do not have a known Dodson or Doggett link. This might suggest that the link between Jason, me and our match group is NOT through Dodson or Doggett. However, the Vannoy line also includes the Crumley line, which is the same issue as discussed above.
- 5 match cousins who descend from the Dodson line but who also descend through the Vannoy/Crumley line. Elizabeth Vannoy is my great-grandmother.
As a last resort, I checked my “oldest” cousin, Buster, who is a generation closer to the ancestors than I am. In Family Finder, he too has a Doggett match, Daniel, who descends from Richard Doggett and Ann Ascough, son of Rev. Benjamin Doggett and Jane Garrard. However, Buster’s match, Daniel, also has a Smoot line, as do both Buster and I. The Smoots married into the Durham line which married into the Dodson line. Daniel’s Smoot line is not the same as my and Buster’s Smoot line, but it’s from just across the Potomac River in St. Mary’s County, Maryland in the same timeframe. Clearly, it could actually be the same Smoot line, given that both Smoot lines run into brick walls at the same time. Hey, maybe this is a clue that we weren’t actually looking for! No problem – I’ll take it!
Where Are We?
Buster’s match, Daniel, had not yet tested when I did the cousin match downloads, so I need to do those downloads again to be able to check for him. This takes quite a bit of time because there are several.
I should probably individually search the FTDNA accounts of all of my cousins descended from the Dodson line for Doggett and Daggett.
The master cousin matches to a common individual aren’t definitive proof. They point to common matches between groups of people suggesting family lines, meaning they point the way towards more meaningful research. They provide hints, albeit sometimes very compelling hints.
The matches on the same segments within a match group might be proof – if they also match each other AND have a common ancestor or ancestral line. We’re not quite there yet.
The only definitive proof would be triangulation – hopefully with people whose lines are complete back to the common ancestor. Otherwise, there can be common DNA from other unknown lines. I have this problem in my own pedigree chart with Lazarus Dodson who married Jane, surname unknown, with Rawleigh Dodson who married Mary, surname unknown, and with Charles Dodson who married Ann, surname unknown. Right there are three opportunities for unknown families and their DNA to enter into my genetic line. It’s likely, of course, that these men married women from the neighborhood, so it’s very likely that Ann, Charles Dodson’s wife, is from the Northern Neck of Virginia, unless he married her before immigrating. It’s likely that anyone who I match from this same time period is also going to have a few brick walls, so it’s very difficult to definitively assign colonial DNA to a specific ancestor.
In cases like this, I don’t like to decide that triangulation has occurred with only 3 people. I think the further back in time, the less solid the pedigree charts, the more proof you need. Of course, the further back in time, the less likely you are to match with descendants and the smaller the matching DNA segments. So while you need more proof, proof is increasingly difficult to garner.
In terms of triangulation, we do have the Jemima Dodson line, me with a Dodson ancestor and Jason with a Doggett ancestor, all matching on the same segment, although the person with Jemima Dodson in their tree does not have a full overlap of the entire segment, making their matching portion smaller – about half the size of the match between me and Jason. Is it a legitmate match? I don’t know.
The bottom line is that we don’t know if Dagord/Doged was Doggett or Daggett or unrelated. The answer seems tantalizingly close. It feels within reach. Daggett or Doggett is not a common surname, so more than one random match seems unlikely. Yet, Buster and I both have a different Doggett match. However, I’ve seen the unlikely happen more than once. Genealogy seems to delight in leading me down the primrose path just to laugh and say, “just kidding” at the end when I’m standing in the brier patch instead, wondering how I got there. Now, I’m justifiably suspicious of anything and everything without proof.
Maybe if I download the cousin matches again the newer matches will provide the answer. Maybe if I check all my cousins for Doggett/Daggett matches. Maybe if someone else tests, the answer will be there tomorrow, or the next day, or next week. My fingers are crossed that Doggett and Daggett descendants from Richmond County that are not related to the Dodson, Durham or Smoot families will test – and that we’ll find some definitive triangulated matches. I’d love to know if Dagod is really Doggett or Daggett.
And while I’m at it, I’d think that those families would want to know if Doggett is Daggett too – or maybe Y DNA testing has already provided that answer. If so, the answer is not at Ysearch today.
If you descend from one of the Dagod, Doggett or Daggett families from close to Richmond County, or a similar surname, and have DNA tested, let me know. Let’s see if we match.
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